In April, Hillary Clinton announced her intentions to run for President of the United States. She did so via social media, a video, and a statement on her new campaign website. Her plans came as no surprise, which is a good thing because the typo in her announcement was more sensational than the declaration itself.
In the closing line of her statement, Ms. Clinton says that she has “…fought children and families all her career.” Perhaps this was a Freudian slip, but in truth she meant to say that she has “…fought FOR children and families all her career.” Because the media loves to find fault, Ms. Clinton’s error—more than likely the error of some young and overworked web content assistant—is what people will remember about the day she announced her run for the Presidency, the culmination of her career-to-date, and arguably one of the best and most important days of her life.
As an author, the day that your book launches will be one of the best days of your life as well. The moment that you have worked toward for so long and with such intensity finally arrives. When you crack open the cover of your freshly printed book, you want to savor the moment, not find a typo. Hiring a professional copy editor, in addition to having your book proofread by a fresh set of eyes after the book is typeset, will help ensure your day stays special.
Editing and proofing extend to your marketing materials as well: your website, advertisements, press releases, social media posts—anything that people will read about you and your book. An editor will not only find typos but will highlight statements that don’t come across as intended. I once designed a brochure for a photographer. When I typeset the text of her bio, I noticed that one of her sentences read as follows: “In particular I love to shoot children and their families.” Perhaps she, like Ms. Clinton, was busy saving the world from little children, but as the brochure was meant to be distributed at a children’s summer camp, I didn’t think people would appreciate her special skill as much as she did. We agreed to change “shoot” to “photograph.” Then there is the cooked chicken cookbook: the author forgot to specify that in each recipe the chicken was assumed to be cooked. In the process of editing that book, we probably saved lives, if not reputations.
Don’t let embarrassing errors detract from your message, and don’t let typos be how your special moment is remembered!